Let's Remember the True Meaning and Spirit of Independence Day in the U.S.
Today we celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. Historically, this means we are celebrating freedom from tyranny and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And today, these words and this celebration is more important than ever.
While our nation has become divided and too many people and leaders seem to be more concerned with winning and control, our American democracy hangs on a thread. So let's look at the idea of this day and the democracy and freedom that it stands for.
Today we honor the right to live in a democracy and choose the sort of country we want to be. We honor the dissent that is part of our patriotic history. Rather than be angry at the other side of the political spectrum, understand that different perspectives coming together is what our political system was built on. That's why we have more than one political party. To keep the democracy, to keep people questioning the leaders to make sure they are doing things "for the people" and to share in debates so that we can come together for solutions that work for the people.
However, when our government does not truly represent the people or the majority of what the people in this country want, there is a problem with our freedom and democracy. When the rich who are blind or living in a rich bubble control the laws and rules without understanding or empathizing with those less fortunate, there is a problem. When one side will not negotiate or listen to the other side, there is no democracy.
And while debates are a good thing when both sides can truly listen, they can be a hinderance when either side is only their to defend their point of view. Part of the problem in today's America is that debates tend to be all about defense, which only ingrains their own beliefs more. Listening to each other, empathizing with each other, and working together to come up with solutions should be more of a focus.
We currently have a lot of issues and propaganda that plays into building a hatred for those who disagree. We currently have a threat of losing our democracy when laws that are voted by the majority are blocked by the political party and political leaders in charge (net neutrality among others).
So how do we celebrate the day that exemplifies the freedom of democracy in the U.S. today with so many issues facing our country?
We open our hearts up to others and their perspectives. We listen rather than talk. We come together in debates without hatred. We keep questioning our leadership and the rights of the people. We fight to do away with the laws and loopholes that take away democracy. We stand up and fight for the things we the majority vote on to come to fruition. We keep protesting and fighting for equality and justice. We keep debating, questioning and challenging our leaders. And we remind those who want to shut down the dissent with hatred, that by doing so, they are shutting down patriotism and what it means to be an American.
This day does not represent a country that was built on following blindly a leader or party or a specific faith. No, this day represents the freedom to disagree, the freedom of speech, the freedom to vote for change, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to have your own faith, freedom to protest, and the democracy of the majority.
No matter which side you are on in your political spectrum, no matter what your faith or beliefs are, this country is worth fighting for, worth having pride in for the opportunities we have, and worth celebrating.
As you wave your American flag proudly today, remember what is stands for. Remember the principles that were hard fought for and the sacrifices that were made to be able to live in a country where we all have the freedom to disagree. Remember that it was built on people from different cultures and beliefs and that we all have a place and we all belong.